Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Cultural Studies, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Lawson Bush V

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Darrell Moore

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Deborah Faye Carter

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Luis-Brown

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2024 Amiri Mahnzili


Afrofuturism, Anti-Colonial Theory, AstroBlack Theory, Critical Theory, Pan-Africanism, Pedagogy

Subject Categories

African American Studies | African Studies


The academic experience of Afrikan students is constantly perceived through deficit paradigms. Reshaping Black Brilliance is informed by the axiom that the academic experience of Afrikan students should be grounded in the richness and complexities of Afrikan culture, as opposed to the deficit paradigms. This project proposes to reimagine the possibilities of academic success for Afrikan students through an Afrofuturistic methodological approach intended to highlight and bring out the brilliance of Afrikan students. This work seeks to investigate the expansive possibilities of Afrofuturism as a methodology for the production of a Pan-Afrikan pedagogy, examining the power of the imagination through Octavia E. Butler’s short story The Book of Martha . Afrofuturism as a methodology allows for expansive forms of epistemology that centers and affirms the Afrikan diasporic experience. Astro Blackness is defined as a “An Afrofuturistic concept in which a person’s black state of consciousness, released from confining and crippling slave or colonial mentality, becomes aware of the multitude of varying possibilities and probabilities within the universe.” I employ AstroBlack Theory as a means to theorize the Afrikan diasporic experience beyond the confining and crippling slave or colonial mentality, through an examination of the myth making ethos of jazz composer Sun Ra. Reshaping Black Brilliance contributes to the growing intellectual discourse on Afrikan education by focusing on Afrikan spiritual systems like ritual and rites-of-passage to approximate their pedagogical value.